TOM THUMB, MILK-BONE GIVE POLICE DOGS THEIR DAY

DALLAS -- The Dallas Police Department upgraded its canine division, thanks to a joint promotion between Tom Thumb here and Milk-Bone brand dog biscuits.In the promotion, Nabisco, the East Hanover, N.J.-based manufacturer of Milk-Bone, donated 35 cents from each box of small, medium and large Milk-Bone biscuits purchased at Tom Thumb toward the purchase of a police dog. The promotion raised $4,500

DALLAS -- The Dallas Police Department upgraded its canine division, thanks to a joint promotion between Tom Thumb here and Milk-Bone brand dog biscuits.

In the promotion, Nabisco, the East Hanover, N.J.-based manufacturer of Milk-Bone, donated 35 cents from each box of small, medium and large Milk-Bone biscuits purchased at Tom Thumb toward the purchase of a police dog. The promotion raised $4,500 to buy Queno, a German shepherd, for the department.

Officials at Tom Thumb and its parent company, Randalls Food Markets, Houston, where a similar promotion was also held, referred calls to Nabisco.

Leslie Griffin, manager of customer marketing at Nabisco's regional office here, helped coordinate the event.

According to Griffin, other such joint promotions were also conducted at several chains supplied by Fleming Cos., Oklahoma City, including Randalls/Tom Thumb.

Other retailers who participated included Clemens Markets, Kulpsville, Pa.; Abco Foods, Phoenix; Super Saver, Waukesha, Wis.; Consumers Markets, Springfield, Mo.; and Super Kmart stores in Ohio.

Griffin said the promotion has proven to be a "win-win-win" for the supermarket, Nabisco and the local police force.

"The supermarkets win because they get the product on display and we support it with space funding for a temporary price reduction. They reap all of the benefits from the public relations because the dogs are donated in the account's name," she said.

Some accounts have done a wonderful job promoting the effort on their own, Griffin said. "For example, Consumers Markets had a coloring contest for the kids and also held a contest to name the dog," said Griffin.

Tonya Jansson, manager of customer sales at Nabisco's Houston office, said the Randalls/Tom Thumb promotion included extensive in-store advertising, including pallet displays and point-of-sale materials explaining the promotion.

"Prior to the donation, Randalls ran a Saturday [newspaper] editorial talking about the need for police dogs and the unique promotion that we did with them," she said.

Sergeant Jim Chandler of the Dallas Police Department said Queno received a tremendous amount of media coverage when he was presented to the department at a ceremony in front of a Tom Thumb store.

"It is a feel-good story. Queno will be the 11th member of our canine squad," Chandler said.

He noted that Queno is a "true" German shepherd, imported from Germany, who understands only German commands. As a result, his new handler, senior corporal Alex Garcia, had to take German lessons.

"Queno will start out as a patrol dog and then, depending on his nature, he could be cross trained on narcotics detection or explosives detection," Chandler said.

Griffin has received a lot of positive feedback from police forces across the country and hopes to expand the Milk-Bone police dog program nationally next year.